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Life History & Evolutionary Ecology.doc
Life History & Evolutionary Ecology.doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Dan Sellen

Evolutionary Ecology of Human Life History MainConcepts: - Life-HistoryTheory=Understandwaysinwhichthestagesoflifeandtheassociatedbehaviorsareorganized.Look atultimatecausesfordevelopingthesetraits. - Focus on ultimate causes (non-biomedicine). Why and how did we develop a trait? What is the advantage of having this trait? - What are the social and behavioral effects of the trait on evolution of life-history? - First need to determine ecology of typical ancestral population. Then decide if changing environment was responsible for evolution of a particular trait. - There was no clear-cut ancestral ecology so used African Village (1950-1975). Emphasis was placed on picking population with strong social dynamic. Culture is just as important as ecology. Blah blah blah... - Look at stages of human life history through ecology perspective. - Evolutionary ecologists predict that human life history is unique because of our large brain. Other primates have much smaller brains relative to body size. - Selectionpressuresinfluencingmortalityandfertilityfavorparticularlife-historystrategies. EvolutionofMenopause: Argument 1 - Grandmotherhypothesis: women stop reproducing to help their own kids reproduce. - Parents can start weaning (stop breastfeeding) sooner and grandmother can take care of kid so mom can get kid 2 going. - Grandmother being present lowers average child bearing age of mother by 1. - Reduce competition amongst grandchildren. Survival of children that had living grandparents
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